Volunteers roped in to help KZN clamp down on school violence
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has ramped up its efforts to clamp down on school violence and crime in the province by unveiling 1500 trained volunteers to be allocated to different hotspots across the province.
Schools in the province have been ravaged by a spate of attacks, violence in which learners, teachers and security have been attacked and in some instances killed.
In July two security guards were killed at Ukusa Senior Secondary School in Hammarsdale, outside of Durban, where the provincial government on Tuesday launched its schools safety programme.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said that they were committed to ensuring that local communities were involved in the fight to combat escalating violence and criminality in schools.
“We have seen numerous incidents in schools, we have seen criminals breaking into computer labs stealing computers and getting into offices and stealing equipment that is very important for learners. We have also seen attacks directed at security guards at schools and we have seen attacks directed at teachers and to a certain extent the violence between learners themselves.
“We want to ensure that the community plays a critical role in the education process. Each and every parent must be in charge, she or he must know the conduct of his or her child at school. They must be part of and participate in every process,” Zikalala said.
He said that they were launching the schools safety programme with the intention to have the volunteers work with the provincial government and the
Department of Education to ensure safety in schools and that the programme would be rolled out through the province to ensure that there were no incidents of bullying, drugs, violence or criminality in schools.
“This includes the fight against sexual abuse directed to children,” said Zikalala.
KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said that it was important to mobilise communities to partner with government to protect the province’s schools alongside the 1500 community volunteers who had been trained by the Department of Community Safety and Liaison.
“These are volunteers that have been trained in combating crime, combating drugs and also detecting incidents of violence and drug abuse before they even happen. This is the first batch and we’re going to recruit another 1500 which we’re going to dispatch across the schools,” Mshengu said.
He said that his department was also reviving the code of conduct in schools and that they wanted both parents and learners to commit themselves by playing their part in ensuring that the province’s schools do not become violence and drug dens.
Mshengu added that they would also be entering into partnerships with police stations to ensure that police were assigned to show visibility and conduct regular patrols in our schools, " Mshengu said.
He added that the launch of the schools safety programme was not a once off but that they would take the programme throughout the province.